Yogi Berra to have statue in front of his museum

Yogi Berra took a quick look at a picture of the statue that

will be placed in front of his museum.

It showed a muscular Berra kneeling in the on-deck circle,

gazing upward while holding two bats. The statue is the latest

highlight for the colorful New York Yankees Hall of Famer, who won

10 World Series titles as a player and three MVP awards.

“It looks great,” the 85-year-old Berra said Monday after the

picture of the statue was unveiled at the Yogi Berra Museum and

Learning Center. “I didn’t know I looked that good.”

While many pictures were considered as the guide for the bronze

statue, museum director Dave Kaplan said the rendition came from a

1950s Sports Illustrated photo.

Sculptor Brian Hanlon said the pose combines Berra’s talent on

the field, his spiritual presence in the locker room and his

impeccable behavior off the field.

“His neck and his hands are just ripped,” said Hanlon, who

said it would take him 6-to-8 months to sculpt the statue in clay

before it is sent to a foundry to be bronzed. The cost will be

between $100,000-to-$125,000.

“He’s a baseball warrior,” Hanlon said. “I think as

Michelangelo was great at doing this, creating energy and

stillness, and would be my goal here, creating energy in this

reflective piece.”

Berra admitted there are really only a couple of statues he

likes. There is one of Mickey Mantle in Oklahoma and another of

Stan Musial.

“I just hope this looks like them,” Berra quipped.

Carmen Berra, Yogi’s wife of 61 years, said that she visited the

museum on a class trip about a week ago with her granddaughter,

Alexandra. The 5-year-old wanted to know what the circle was

outside the museum.

When told ‘that’s where they are putting Grandpa,’ the child

reacted quickly.

“You mean we have to come here to see Grandpa,” Carmen Berra

recalled Alexandra saying.

Yogi spent most of his time on Monday talking about his favorite

topic – baseball.

“I liked to play,” Berra said. “I loved to play the game and

I liked to watch the games, too. My wife gets mad at me sometimes

because I am taking away her programs. I have to get her a new

TV.”

Berra said he remains on very good terms with Yankees owner

George Steinbrenner.

“He has done a heck of a job. It’s a beautiful stadium,

everything.”

On his beloved Yankees, Berra said it was exciting watching this

past weekend’s Subway Series with the Mets.

“We had chances,” Berra said, not hiding his allegiance. “We

just didn’t hit at the right time. They scored all their runs

yesterday with two outs and we had men on first and third with no

outs and didn’t score. In the last inning, we got to within 6-4 and

with a base hit you never know what could have happened.”

Berra said injuries have limited the Yankees in recent

weeks.

“I think if we can just hang on till everyone gets back, we’ll

be all right,” he said.

The former Mets manager also showed some love for the Flushing

team, which won the series, 2-1.

“I still root for the Mets, but not when we play them,” Yogi

said.

When asked about his former teammates, many of whom have died,

Berra said that’s why he likes Old Timer’s Day.

“I like seeing the guys come back, but a lot of our guys are

leaving, the ones that I played with, a lot have passed away,”

Berra said. “It’s still good to see the guys and other teams, too.

It’s great.”

While baseball has changed since he retired, Berra said the

essence of the game is the same.

“It’s baseball,” said the beloved icon who coined the phrase

`It ain’t over till it’s over.’

“You have to love to play it and I loved to play it,” he

added. “Where else could you make that kind of money playing ball.

I still love baseball. If I’m not out there, I could watch three or

four games.”